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Minister welcomes flood risk meeting

Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill, has welcomed the establishment of Local Flood Forums to help develop a better understanding of flood risk and how it can be pro-actively managed in the future.
Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The three forums are made up of government departments, agencies, stakeholders and the public or their representatives and will provide groups with an opportunity to participate in the preparation of flood risk management plans.

“Today’s first meeting of the three Flood Forums is another important step in the implementation of the European Floods Directive. Whilst it is recognised that flooding is a natural occurrence, the development of flood risk management plans, which set out how we will manage this risk, will reduce the impact on people, property and the environment,” explained Minister O’Neill.

“I would urge communities at flood risk to play an active role in their local forum as this will enable them to gain a greater understanding of the likelihood of flooding. This level of local engagement will also allow officials to get a real sense of what it is like to experience flooding and this will assist in the drafting of measures to reduce the impact,” she added.

The inaugural meeting, held at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island, focused on how the future forum meetings will operate, how information will be exchanged and set out a suggested terms of reference for these groups.

The forums are established under the European Floods Directive and cover three river basin districts – Neagh Bann, North Eastern and North Western.

Explaining the current state of play, David Porter, Rivers Agency Director of Development said: Rivers Agency has already completed the Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment and is well advanced in the production of detailed flood maps which show the potential impact of flooding. These new maps will provide a greater level of information than the existing strategic flood map which has already proven to be an important visual tool to communicate flood risk. The new detailed maps will be made available to the public in December 2013.

“The Flood Risk Management Plans are the final stage of implementation and are to be practical documents which detail the steps government, communities and individuals can take to reduce the impact of flooding,” David Porter concluded.

Notes to editors:

  1. Rivers Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. It is the statutory drainage and flood defence authority for Northern Ireland.
  2. All media queries should be directed to the DARD Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email: DARD Press Office. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.